Diabetes: New Loves for Old

salad chicken

There are foods I ate before my diagnosis. Even if I have to limit the amounts I eat of them or eliminate all together, I still love them. There have been compensations and new food discoveries. There have even been new ways to fix “old” staples. Then again, I wanted some tabbouleh to go with dinner tonight. In New Mexico the store managers looked at me like I was crazy. One asked me if it was a kind of cheese.

What is the point of kvetching and moaning about all the foods we are not supposed to eat if we have Diabetes? What good does it do? In truth, is eating with Diabetes really as bad as we say it is? If it helps, think of eating with Diabetes like breaking up with your not-good-for you boyfriend/girlfriend. What good is sitting alone in your room sad, depressed and wearing your old torn sweatpants?

So what if bingeing out on rice, breads, potatoes, cake, ice cream may not be in our healthy future. We can find more than enough really good things that we can eat, and eat in the quantities we would like. You may be surprised to know some of those foods are better than we ever ate before. All we have to do is think of them as that new possible love that we never bothered to notice or took for granted but was there all the time.

I have written about “skinny slaw” many times. It is cole slaw. The original recipe (Diet Gourmet Shoppe) made and sold buckets of it every day. It was made with a low fat mayonnaise and a sugar substitute. The version I make now is made with a mayonnaise with olive oil and YES, a sugar replacement. The old was very, very good. The newer version (because of the full fat mayonnaise) is even better. The thing is, you can eat a pile of it. Your plate of fish and chips (I’ll Fish Fry tomorrow recipe) may not be loaded with chips, but you get lots of baked crunchy fish and a pile of slaw. It is what I call a full plate meal.

One of the funny things I can not easily find in New Mexico is turnips. My local SPROUTS keeps telling me they are seasonal. When I point out that they are a big deal for many people at Thanksgiving, they just smile and shrug their collective shoulders. I can find them at WHOLE FOODS and the COOP…for a price. Little purple topped turnips are usually about .69¢ a pound. At both those stores they are upwards of $2.50 a pound. When I want them for a great roasted turnip and apple puree, I pay the asking price. The dish is a great accompaniment for a rich pot roast or braised short ribs. The “original” dish was made from pear and turnip. Both are too high in carbohydrates for my budget. The replacement is just as luxurious as the original….if I can find the turnips.

Cheddar cheese is another item that is very different. California, English, New York, Vermont, and Wisconsin Cheddar all have their fans. I live with a cheese-head from Wisconsin so you know what is in my fridge…if I can find it. It is simple geography. New Mexico is a lot closer to California than it is to Wisconsin.

Growing up in NYC, I was used to certain brands. Breakstone’s Sour cream was the ONLY one I would use. Out here, it doesn’t exist. Luckily the Smith’s (Kroger) out here has a natural sour cream that tastes just as good, even better for being so very thick.

Even a national brand (like Dannon) has a different presence here. I can’t find all the flavors I like, but having Diabetes means having to manage….one way or another.

Now I can order foods I simply don’t feel I can replace. I order my low carbohydrate breads (Joseph’s) from Massachusetts, my favorite Balsamic Vinegar and chocolate infused olive oil (Ariston) from Connecticut, and my Italian dark chocolate (Perugina) from New Jersey. I am with you. You want what you want when you want it. …me too. We just have to be prepared to pay the price(s) to get it. Unless…we are willing to try out some new loves. Playing the food field may be better than you think.

Enjoy, be happy, be Healthy, BE DECADENT.-w!